Reduce Conflict: Do You Hear the Urgency Before the Yell? #peopleskills

Reduce Conflict: 5 Places to Hear the Urgency Before the Yell

As The People Skills Coach™, I often teach others how to deal with people’s anger in the workplace and reduce conflict. Does your boss yell? Has a team member suddenly become edgy with you? Has a customer surprised you with a yell?

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If you don’t like to be yelled at, develop one of the most valuable people skills to reduce conflict:

Hear the urgency before the yell!

Often when the boss, a teammate, or a customer yells, you have missed the urgency they were communicating before the yell. It’s not your fault and this is not about blame. Yet hearing the urgency before the yell can give you what you want — less conflict!

In the face of urgency and a listener who doesn’t hear it, someone may resort to a yell. I am not speaking about people who yell all the time. I am referring to people who suddenly start to yell.

Reduce Conflict: 5 Places to Hear Urgency Before the Yell!

  1. Hear urgency in repetition. When they calmly say the same thing twice, hear their urgency and acknowledge it — before the yell. If you remain silent because you are pondering what they said, the next thing you hear may be a yell. To them silence means you don’t care. Tell them you are thinking not ignoring them.

  2. Hear urgency in their lack of knowledge. Your expertise blinds you to their urgency. As they speak, your knowledge is calmly telling you that you can handle it. Speak up. Nicely reassure them that you can handle it. Communicate solutions sooner to reduce conflict and prevent the yell.

  3. Hear urgency in the painful past or impending future. Many times people’s urgency comes from previous negative experiences that caused them pain or something they are anticipating. Ask great questions while people are calm to uncover their concerns — before the yell. When you uncover the fear, you find the urgency and reduce conflict.

  4. Hear urgency in the need to be acknowledged. Urgency is not always a deadline for action. Often people’s urgency resides in their need to be heard. Tell them that you hear what they are saying. Paraphrase (not parrot) what they have said. Acknowledging people can prevent the yell and reduce conflict.

  5. Hear urgency in the bigger picture. Example: I was teaching a public class. The banquet room was to be setup by 7:30am so I could prepare before greeting the students. I walked in to see a room configured incorrectly and no flip charts.

    I calmly spoke with the hotel rep about re-configuring room and the time frame needed. Ten minutes later there was still no change. I then said, “Fix this now!”. He replied, “that’s good, you woke me up” and quickly fixed the problem. To him, my calm voice at the beginning meant it wasn’t urgent. Had he looked at the bigger picture of my need to prepare before people arrived, he would have heard the urgency in the calm — before the yell.

Bonus Tip: The more you know about people, the easier it is to reduce conflict and prevent the yell. Learn what annoys them (pet peeves), their personality types, their fears and goals, their frustrations, and how best to respond before the yell.

You can create positive, proactive, productive interactions in business.

What have surprising outbursts taught you about reducing conflict in business?

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Posts:
6 Key Reasons Executive Leaders Get Annoyed w/ You
Reduce Conflict: Listen While You Speak

©2014 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.

Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.



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15 Responses to “Reduce Conflict: Do You Hear the Urgency Before the Yell? #peopleskills”

  1. Anne Egros says:

    Hi Kate,

    I like the way you said that the responsibility of getting a yell is both from the listener and the speaker. As a customer I have yelled at customer service people who did not listen my calm requests and did not care me yelling at them neither because they won’t do anything anyway. This attitude really makes me angry but I feel bad because I am not supposed to lose my temper even if the other person is not doing the job they are supposed to do. I am still 100% responsible for the yelling and getting upset.

  2. As I read this article I couldn’t help thinking that all of these can be applied to the relationship with a spouse. If we can feel the urgency before the yell with our spouses, we’ll be so much more supportive for them and in turn will deepen the love in the relationship. Thanks for sharing this.

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Hi Jeannette,
      Very very true — people-skills apply to all people and situations, not just work. So much of my work addresses interaction challenges in the workplace yet many clients have told me they use what they learned at home as well.

      Many thanks for your visit here — Smart SenseAbilities — and I hope you will continue to share your knowledge, insight, and individual perspective on any post of interest.
      Best wishes,

  3. Will Lukang says:

    Very good post on hearing the urgency. I think people often take things for granted that listening is critical to communication.

  4. kimb says:

    Kate I loved this post and shared it on my biz page…I guess I made my comment there, as a solo business woman relying on email communication primarily, it is very difficult to communicate any sense of urgency to my clients. And it is beyond me to LEAVE THE CAP LOCKS ON TO GET MT POINT ACROSS. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Kate – Great post! This is one of the MOST critical skills I can think of for people working with people. For me, you haven’t communicated if you haven’t picked up on the feelings underneath the words. When you do that, and you express your understanding of those feelings, you should rarely have anyone yell at you, if ever. I am posting this on Twitter and Facebook for my clients so that they have an opportunity to hear the same message in different words than they have heard from me. Whoo Hoo! Thank you! Georgia

    • Kate Nasser says:

      So glad you found it valuable Georgia and that you took the time to share your perspective here at Smart SenseAbilities blog.
      Hearing the urgency has been a beneficial skill for me and as you say is MOST critical anytime you work with others.

      Warmest regards,

  6. Ruth says:

    this was extremely helpful to me especially the advice about heeding repetition.

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Thank you Ruth. I am so glad you found it helpful! I’ve done work for your organization and I am pleased we are linked now via my blog. Always glad to help!

      Warmest regards,

  7. Alli Polin says:

    I LOVE this! Hear the urgency before the yell. I’ve had people so focused on convincing me that they know what they were talking about that they missed the fact that I didn’t care that they’re experts – they should be! I had a problem and I felt like I wasn’t being heard – that was a pain point that exacerbated my initial challenge 10 fold!

    Look forward to sharing this one widely!

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Great story you have added to this post’s discussion Alli. So grateful. Love your phrase … pain point that exacerbated my initial challenge 10 fold. I can feel your unrest ready to erupt!

      Many thanks for your thoughts and for sharing this post!

  8. Kate – I saw the title of your post float across a feed yesterday and didn’t have time to click and read. But I was hooked!

    Last week I blogged about a situation I was in as a mid-level leader and was labeled a victim when I tried to communicate urgency. (I refused to accept that label as truth and found different ways to comunicate that urgency until I was understood and system-wide change was created.) I hope that lesson has increased my ability to hear the urgency before others feel the need to yell!

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Wow Chery … you were labeled a “victim” because you were communicating urgency? That is an organization taking denial and blame to a whole new level. I so appreciate you sharing your personal experience here for it broadens all our perspectives on human interaction.

      So grateful!

      Best wishes to you and keep up the great communication,

  9. Thank you for the inspiration and tips this morning, Kate.

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